Dathan's AR, from start to finish, from Walt Murphy. Walt is the man behind the scenes in most major track meets seen in the US, providing the on air broadcasters with the most up to date info on athletes, performances, and the sport. Walt's News Service is a must have, and we encourage you to get on his list!
Dathan Ritzenhein, August 17, 2009, Men's 10,000 meters, sixth place, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.
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AR For Dathan Ritzenhein
by Walt Murphy
(observations taken from the Universalsports.com Webcast--Ritz’s race begins at 2:04)
Excellent Ritzenhein post-race interview by Flotrack's Mark Floreani: http://tinyurl.com/move3d
IAAF Report: http://www.iaaf.org/GLE09/news/newsid=54145.html
Ritz splits courtesy of Track & Field News http://trackandfieldnews.com/display_article.php?id=35691
NBC will broadcast a 90-minute show on Sunday from 1:00pm-2:30pm(ET)
The Weltklasse (World Class) meet in Zurich has a tradition of being the best invitational meet of the season, and this year’s edition lived up to that reputation.
Recent World Champions were all over the place, but one who didn’t win in Berlin, shockingly so, provided the sole world record of the meet. Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, who was in tears after “no-heighting” in the pole vault at the World Championships, rebounded in a big way, clearing 16-7 1/4(5.06m) cleanly to add 1/2-inch to her previous World Record of 16-6 3/4(5.05m), which was set at last year’s Olympics.
With her win, Isinbayeva stayed alive in the chase for the $1,000,000 Golden League Jackpot, as did World Champion Sanya Richards, who dominated the women’s 400, winning in 48.94, the fastest time of the year and the 3rd fastest time of her career. Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, winner of the 5000 and 10,000 in Berlin, also stayed in contention with his win in the 5000-meters(with a world-leading time of 12:52.32). Dropping out of the running was Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart, who was beaten in the women’s 100-meters by Carmelita Jeter (10.86-11.04). “Isi”, Richards, and Bekele will share $1,000,000 if they can win at the final Golden League stop in Brussels on September 4.
The highlight of the meet, from an Amerrican perspective, was the men’s 5000, where Dathan Ritzenhein, in 3rd place, ran 12:56.27 to break Bob Kennedy’s 13-year old American Record of 12:58.21, which was set at this same meet in 1996.
Knowing that the pace requested by Bekele was going to be super-fast, “Ritz”, as he is affectionately known, was content to stay at the very end of the 15-man field for the first half of the race, some 4-5 seconds behind the leaders.
Cranking out laps that ranged from 61.3 to 62.8, the 26-year old Ritzenhein, who had concentrated on the marathon in recent years, was almost an afterthought to those watching the race, but he seemed well on his way to smashing his 2-year old personal best of 13:16.06. He even allowed himself to start thinking that he could break Kennedy’s record.
He started moving up in position, but was still in 7th place with two laps to go. Closing faster than anyone else, he threw in a 60.4-second penultimate lap that brought him into 3rd, trailing only Bekele and Kenyan Edwin Soi. But he wasn’t done--at the bell, he maintained his sprint, moving past Soi on the final backstretch, and--could it be?--he was gaining ground on Bekele! The “invincible” Ethiopian was never in serious danger of being caught, though, and went on to complete his win. Ritz was passed by Soi, but, with the clock still running, it was obvious as he crossed the finish line that he had broken Kennedy’s mark that had stood since 1996. And he did it with a closing 800-meters of 2:00.6!
With his AR following his performance in Berlin, where he finished 6th in the 10,000-meters with a personal best time of 27:22.28, Ritzenhein, who has battled injuries throughout much of his career, is at the top of his game. Along with Alan Webb and Ryan Hall, he was part of the magical trio of prep stars from the class of 2001.
When asked for his reaction upon hearing about his record being broken, the always classy Kennedy said, “I'm very happy for Ritz. It's a spectacular performance. I'm proud to have held the record for 13 years and even more thrilled that American distance running is moving forward again. I think it's fitting that the record was broken on the same day (my wife) Melina filed to run for the Mayor of Indianapolis. End of one chapter and the beginning of the next in the Kennedy family chronicles”. (Kennedy called Ritzenhein to offer his congratulations).
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, Andy Stubbs, part of the management team that represents Ritzenhein, passed along the following comments from the new record holder, who was as surprised as anyone that he had run so fast, as they were riding back to their hotel in Zurich:
"I am still on cloud nine. I knew I was in great shape but I was a little shocked at how great I felt. (Coach) Alberto (Salazar) told me I could break 13:05 and I believed him, but 12:56 was a dream come true. Bob Kennedy is a true American icon in distance running and I have always admired him, to break his record is such an honor. I am so happy my family was here to celebrate with me. I want to thank everyone for their support. My family, friends, agent, coach, sponsers, fans. The list keeps going”.
The U.S. has never seen a year like this in the women’s 1500-meters. Christin Wurth-Thomas(3:59.98) and Colorado’s Jenny Barringer(3:59.90) joined the sub-4 club earlier this season, and they were joined in Zurich by Anna Willard, who finished 2nd with a personal best of 3:59.38. And the 4th member of this impressive group, Shannon Rowbury (with a best of “only” 4:00.33), won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Berlin. Rowbury(4:00.81) and Wurth-Thomas(4:01.01) finished 4th and 5th, respectively, in Friday's race.
ALL-TIME U.S. LIST
MEN’S 5000-METERS (Performers)
12:56.27 Dathan Ritzenhein 2009
12:58.21 Bob Kennedy 1996
12:59.22 Bernard Lagat 2006
13:01.15 Sydney Maree 1985
13:04.90 Matt Tegenkamp 2006
13:10.00 Adam Goucher 2006
13:10.86 Alan Webb 2005
13:11.77 Mebrahtom Keflezighi 2000
13:11.77 Tim Broe 2005
13:11.93 Alberto Salazar 1982
13:11.93 Anthony Famiglietti 2007
ALL-TIME U.S. OUTDOOR LIST
3:57.12 Mary Slaney 1983
3:57.40 Suzy Favor Hamilton 2000
3:59.38 Anna Willard 2009
3:59.90 Jenny Barringer 2009
3:59.98 Christin Wurth-Thomas 2009
4:00.18 Ruth Wysocki 1984
4:00.33 Shannon Rowbury 2008
4:00.35 Regina Jacobs 1999
4:01.79 Diana Richburg 1987
4:02.61 Jan Merrill 1976
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